What is a Job Board?

‘The Demise of the Job Board’ seems to have become something of a ‘cause celeb’ in recruitment media circles. Just type ‘Job Boards are Dead’ into Google and you’ll get a wide variety of comments and articles on the subject. But why? The recent Zappos blog, “What? No Job Postings?!?” seems to sum up the issue: Thought-provoking headline, lots of PR and comments but…so what?

Why do we care? Well, yes, we do have a vested interest. We produce the two largest Job Board Summits in the world – the North American and European Job Board Summits – which between them attract over 400 Job Board Executives every year. Beyond that, we feel that Job Boards get a bad rap.

Our North American Summit is being held on June 26th and 27th in Orlando and RecruitingBlogs very own Matt Charney will be attending along with HR and Recruiting experts John Sumser (HRExaminer) and Gerry Crispin (Cande Awards). We’ll also have world experts from IBM looking at “Big Data” and McKinsey Inc presenting their take on “Pricing Models (here are many more speakers covering a range of relevant topics).

‘What Is A Job Board’ is one of those topics being discussed by our panel of recruiters who use Job Boards. For us, this is a critical question and one which to some extent has been unanswered or poorly defined by the industry. So here is our attempt at a definition which has much more to do with a business model as opposed to the channel (i.e. the internet vs mobile).

Definition: You are a Job Board if you provide the following functions/services:

  • You provide jobs (paid or free) which can be searched


  • you have a profile or resume database which can be searched


  • you enable job seekers to search for a job and apply for a job


  • build a profile, upload a Resume or set up a Job By Email alert.”


There is possibly an even simpler definition: “If you publish original jobs then you are a Job Board”. The reason we use the word ‘original’ is if you only aggregate others jobs then for us you are an Aggregator. It’s all about the originality of the content.

What we choose to ignore is how the audience is built – i.e. the content model – but in our view this does not change the definition.

So, what would be covered by our definition?

  • LinkedIn – this is a job board and its recent announcement around job aggregation makes it even clearer that it’s a job board
  • Glassdoor – it carries jobs and branding and therefore Glassdoor is a job board. Yes, the content is review based but the revenue is generated from job board activity.
  • Indeed – Is now clearly a job board and terms like “vertical search engine” are more about possibly not wanting to be defined a job board
  • Stackoverflow – Is an awesome community portal but still a job board. They carry job postings and allow candidates to build profiles.
  • “Peoplegators” such as TalentBin, Social CV, Identified etc. are not job boards BUT should they take jobs to automatically match against profiles, then to us they become a job board.

What is really consistent (and Matt Charney nailed it in a great post a year ago on ERE, ReBranding Job Boards) is that for all the talk that ‘job boards are dead’ (and the perception that social media or smart phones or structured data will somehow change recruiting) ignores the obvious fact that these technologies are, more or less, content delivery mechanisms.

Content is the currency of the entirety of the Internet, and it’s what we’re looking for when we’re staring at our smart phones, or the story we’re hoping to tell when we actually crunch the numbers behind big data.

So here’s our view: the term ‘Job Board’ is a generic one in the same way that all vacuum cleaners became “Hoovers”. Job Boards are alive, well and reinventing themselves. In Europe we’re seeing job boards providing a vast range of recruiting services from screening through to sourcing. In the  U.S., many more job boards are providing ATS’s, Career Sites, Mobile Products and (most importantly), they provide candidates from multiple sources NOT just from the site – e.g. Dice via The Social CV and Monster via its recent acquisition of TalentBin.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Watch this space there will be more to come!

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